Grocery stores are notorious tricksters when it comes to so-called specials, displays, and promotions set around paycheck schedules, but it turns out they might not be as sneaky as they think. According to a press release and study from The Journal of Consumer Research, shoppers usually expect to buy a certain number of unplanned items when they enter a store, and most shoppers have a pretty good idea of how much they'll spend on them. The study found most consumers have "mental budgets," which leave wiggle room for unplanned purchases or "in-store slack." The study says,
For the majority of consumers, having in-store slack appears to be a rational way to use the store to cue needs and preserve self-control. Highly impulsive individuals may want to consider planning as many purchases in advance as possible.
When you budget for groceries do you leave room for the unexpected?